Decades-old video surveillance from inside Corning Glassworks in Bradford was recently released to the public, and has left the family of long-missing Dale Kerstetter with more questions about the night of Sept. 12, 1987.
It’s perhaps Bradford’s most well-known unsolved mystery: What happened to Kerstetter and a quarter-million-dollars worth of platinum missing from Corning Glassworks?
The mystery began Saturday, Sept. 12, 1987. Kerstetter, a maintenance man and security guard at Corning, went in to work as usual that day. The next morning, another security guard found Kerstetter’s lunch pail, newspaper and keys on a cafeteria table. His truck was in the parking lot.
Kerstetter was nowhere to be found.
Neither he nor the platinum ever turned up, his daughter, Penny Kerstetter, told The Era a year ago. Theories abound, with some alleging that Dale Kerstetter was in on the theft and disappeared with the platinum, while others believe he was a victim who was murdered and disposed of down a well in the Rutherford Run area, his daughter recounted.
Now, 32 years later, she hasn’t slowed in her quest for answers.
In a call with The Era on Wednesday, she explained that in her mind the video exonerates her father from involvement in the platinum theft.
“Dale is seen on the video at 10:45, and Dale was never seen again,” his daughter said. “The masked intruder is seen on the video over the next two hours.”
Kerstetter explained the quality of the video is very poor, but it shows the intruder walking around inside the plant “cluelessly, really. If Dale were in on it, don’t you think he’d be helping the guy? If Dale was in on it, he would have known where the tools and implements were to break into the kiln,” she said.
Platinum rods were taken from the inside of the glass kiln.
Heather Graupmann runs a website called “lost n found blog,” and she has documented the case, interviewed family members and investigators and reviewed what she could find on the disappearance. Speaking to The Era on Wednesday, she said her opinion is also that the video “almost makes Dale seem less likely to be involved.”
She has also researched thefts of platinum from other Corning Glassworks facilities, and found four that she detailed on her blog.
“Prior to this in Bradford, there were four others,” Penny Kerstetter said. “One is an incident. Two is a coincidence. Three is a pattern. What do you call four?”
She explained she has been working with state police and speaking to Bradford Township Police about the cold case.
“It really looks like the plant was robbed, security was lax, Corning had a history of other plants being robbed of platinum and they didn’t take any additional safeguards,” Kerstetter said. “It was easy to blame this on Dale.”
More on the story is available at Graupmann’s blog at https://lostnfoundblogs.com/ as are some still photos taken from the low quality surveillance video.
Kerstetter added that she welcomes calls from anyone with any knowledge of the incident at (716) 807-4684.
Messages left for law enforcement were not immediately returned.